Films to start conversation around water

As part of its commemoration of Human Rights month, the Catholic Welfare and Development (CWD) Athlone Cultural Hub is hosting a water justice film festival, with documentaries that will be screened at various schools and libraries.

The hub’s Andre Marais said these seven documentaries could be described as a meditation on the global water crisis, featuring films produced from around the world.

“Water has been a talking point in Cape Town, and with these films, we want to take it onto another level. It’s a human rights issue, and the water crisis is not a Cape Town crisis, it’s a worldwide crisis.

“Most of the documentaries introduce debate around water, and it was made by activists and water champions. There are people globally wanting to benefit from privatising water. There are forces who want to control natural resources. There are victims and there are perpetrators. The films allow us to contemplate on the global water crisis, and it is also educational. People will be better informed. The great thing about the water crisis, is that it ignited people to think out of the box. It is also topical and urgent. One of the documentaries does not even have a narrative. It is just a celebration of natural resources,” Mr Marais said.

He described the cultural hub as multi-dimensional initiative that engages the community on different levels. The hub is a creative space, and it has various collaborations with other organisations, to host activities such as hip hop, film making, music, and yoga. The late Errol Dyers hosted one of his last jazz concerts at the CWD Athlone Cultural Hub.

When asked what cultural activities have anything to do with activism, Mr Marais said: “Part of activism is cultural. What we are doing here is nothing new. To give people a space to be creative, is to be human. I come from an activist background, and culture has always been a part of it. During the 1980s, Athlone was known as the centre of so many cultural organisations involved with anti-apartheid initiatives. Just up the road from where we are based, many musicians cut their musical teeth. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel, we just want to build on what was here already.”

Institutions that will screen the documentaries include Ned Doman High School, St Raphael Primary School, Delft Technical High School, Sans Souci High School, Thornton Road Primary School, Hout Bay High School, Athlone Library, Khayelitsha Catholic Welfare and Development Community Development Centre, Hanover Park Library, and the Manenberg Afterschool Development Centre.

The schools and libraries will determine the dates and times of screenings.

The seven featured documentaries are:

Flow – For Love of Water, an award-winning documentary investigation by Irena Salina into the growing privatisation of the world’s dwindling fresh water supply.

Blue Gold – World Water Crisis, which takes viewers through the causes of the water crisis – mining, pollution, wetland destruction and the potential effects of a water shortage.

Tapped, a film that examines the role of the bottled water industry and its effect on people’s health, climate change, pollution, and the reliance on oil.

. Water the Great Mystery, which explores the mysteries of why water acts outside all known physical laws of nature;

Watermark which brings together diverse stories from around the globe about people’s relationship with water.

POWAQQATSI, which means life in transition.

God is Rain, which focus on the half-a-million people who rely on Lake Turkana in Northern Kenya for fishing and water for their crops and cattle, but the lake is drying up and communities are fighting to survive.